Big Rock Kids Billfish Tournament lets young anglers compete like the big boys in first-of-its-kind event

Crystal Coast

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) — The first Big Rock Kids Billfish Tournament kicked off Thursday. It features anglers age 16 and younger all trying to catch some fish like they do in the big one: The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.

It’s the first-ever fishing tournament in Morehead City for the children. Like the Big Rock, kids are out on the water looking to bring home the top prize.

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“It’s pretty cool because usually, it’s all adults doing it,” said Darby Donahue, one of the kids at the tournament. “But it just kind of proves that us kids, we can do that kind of stuff and we can catch these huge fish and we are expecting to see a lot of huge fish.”

Click here for more details on the tournament.

Sambo Bratton was the first junior angler to weigh in a fish at the inaugural Big Rock Kids’ tournament.

Bratton caught a 26.8-pound Wahoo aboard the boat Rip Rap. In all, there are 59 boats registered for the tournament. There were 44 that hit the waters on Thursday.

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A portion of the money will go directly back to charity. The exact amount will be announced Saturday at the end of the tournament.

(Kelci O’Donnell, WNCT photo)

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Boats are still eligible to earn money, more than $150,000 as the cash purse for the tournament.

“Any kids that releases a billfish gets an additional 25 release points, so it gives boats a competitive advantage to have kids on the boat fighting the fish because that’s what this whole tournament is about … is growing the sport in the next generation of anglers and getting them hooked on fishing for life,” said Carlee Sharpe, director of the Big Rock Kids Billfish Tournament.

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